Filter By Categories

How Hard is the Series 65 Exam?

November 20, 2023

To legally provide clients advice as an investment adviser representative, it is necessary first to study for and pass the Series 65 exam. This is a hurdle that may be intimidating for some, especially those who are thinking back to their standardized exam days. To ease any worries, it’s best to have a clear idea of what to expect from the exam. We’re here to help you equip you with the facts, so you’re prepared for exam day.  

Series 65 Exam Difficulty

The difficulty level for this exam depends on a variety of factors such as your current familiarity with the topics, your study habits, and even your background. Those that have extensive experience in finance, economics, and investment may feel more comfortable with exam topics right off the bat. This is because a solid foundation of the principles is in place, making studying and test topics feel more manageable.  

However, even professionals may find certain topics of the exam challenging due to the depth of material that is covered. This is why it is highly recommended for those taking the exam to have a consistent schedule of studying set up weeks ahead of the test.  

Series 65 Exam Pass Rate

The pass rate for the Series 65 exam is estimated to be around 60 to 70% of test takers.  

Series 65 Exam Passing Score

To pass the Series 65 exam, test takers will need to score around 70%.  

For those keeping track while they are going through their exam and practice exam, this means that at least 92 of the 130 questions need to be answered correctly.  

Series 65 Exam Topics

A diverse range of finance and investment-related topics are covered on the exam including rules and regulations, ethical practices, economics, analysis, etc. These topics are spread out across four content areas of the exam. They include: 

  • Investment Vehicle Characteristics 
  • Economic Factors and Business Information 
  • Client Investment Recommendations and Strategies 
  • Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines, including Prohibition on Unethical Business Practices  

How Long is the Series 65 Exam?

The Series 65 exam is timed. Test takers are allotted 180 minutes (about 3 hours) for the exam.  

How Many Questions is the Series 65 Exam?

The Series 65 exam contains 140 multiple choice questions, but only 130 of the 140 questions are scored. These are designed to cover a wide range of topics and evaluate your ability to understand material, analyze information, and apply your knowledge to real-world situations.  

Series 65 Exam Prep and Study Tips

Effectively studying for the Series 65 involves a balanced approach that prioritizes consistent studying and active self-care. We recommend the following when preparing for your exam: 

Time Management

Manage your time well by scheduling study sessions in advance that are realistic. Cover all the topics gradually in the weeks leading up to test day so you are not cramming at the last minute. 

Review and Practice

Incorporate practice exams into your studying routine. These timed practice sessions can help simulate the test day environment and help you check in with what you know and don’t know. After taking your practice exams, make sure to review your answers and understand the rationale behind correct answers.  

Reliable Study Materials

Invest in high-quality study materials that align with the exam content. There are lots of resources out there to ensure you are reviewing the right content such as textbooks, online courses, study guides, etc.  


ExamFX provides several useful study materials with the Series 65 exam prep course to ensure you’re ready for test day. Check them out below:


See our full blog about how to study for the Series 65 exam here.